Leo Brown, OSU’s First African-American Captain, Passes Away at 84

Leo Brown Ohio State Football Buckeyes


From an Ohio State press release.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Leo Brown, a standout performer on Woody Hayes’ Ohio State teams in the mid-1950s and the first African-American captain in program history, died this weekend at his home, in Lakewood, Colo. A nephew, Henry Brown, contacted the Ohio State Department of Athletics with the news of Brown’s passing. He was 84.

Born in 1934 and a native of Portsmouth, Ohio, Brown was a three-year Varsity O letterman for Ohio State from 1955-57. He played on the 1955 Big Ten championship team, the 1956 team that set a Big Ten Conference record by reaching 17 consecutive conference victories and the 1957 team that won the UPI national championship, the third national title for Ohio State football and the second under Hayes.

An end who played both ways on the field, Brown earned first-team all-Big Ten honors as a junior in 1956 before being selected as a team captain as a senior in 1957, along with Galen Cisco.

Following his Ohio State career, which included his becoming a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Brown enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he worked as a maxillofacial surgeon for over 20 years before retiring as a colonel.

Services for Brown will be Monday, March 26, at St. Paul’s Community Church in Lakewood, Colo., with a military burial service to follow at Ft. Logan Veteran’s Cemetery in Denver.

2 Responses

  1. Condolences to the family of a great Buckeye.

    I must say, that’s a pretty cool resume: captain of a Woody Hayes OSU team and then a surgeon with colonel’s rank in the air force. Pretty nice accomplishments!

  2. Leo and Galen were voted on by the team after the 1956 season. Leo was not a big guy but was tough. One of the reasons why southern schools did not play northern schools was simply color as they did not even admit black students.

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